The tomato is a plant. People often think of the red fruit when they hear the word. But it also refers to the whole bush, and tomatoes can have very different colours. In Austria the tomato is called Paradeiser or Paradiesapfel, in former times it was also called Liebesapfel or Goldapfel. The modern name "tomato" comes from an Aztec language.
Originally, the wild plant comes from Central America and South America. There, the Maya already cultivated tomatoes more than 2000 years ago. At that time, the fruits were still rather small. The explorers brought the tomato to Europe around 1550.
Tomatoes are not always red. They come in many different colours. It took until around 1800 or even 1900 for many tomatoes to be eaten in Europe. There are over 3000 varieties that have been bred. In Europe, the tomato is one of the most important vegetables eaten. They are eaten fresh, dried, fried or processed in food, for example as tomato ketchup.
In biology, the tomato is considered a plant species. It belongs to the nightshade family. It is therefore related to the potato, the aubergine and even tobacco. However, there are many other plants that are closely related to the tomato.